Fashion has flirted with bag shapes both spectacularly sizable and ludicrously Lilliputian. But if recent lifestyle changes have taught us anything, it’s that our accessories should be easy to use. As a result, we’re banishing styles that have Mary Poppins-inspired dimensions or surface areas too miniscule to contain a credit card, and embracing handbag brands that propose silhouettes proportioned to perfection.

For spring, we’re sizing up handbag brands creating styles with a streamlined persuasion, which nestle ergonomically under the shoulder. Some, like the Chanel ‘11.12’ bag and the Gucci ‘Jackie’, are updated brand signatures, while others, including the U-shaped Prada ‘Cleo’ and the boxy Hermès ‘Mors de Brides’ are new silhouettes. The ’Cleo’ nods to minimalist 1990s silhouettes in the Milan label’s archive, while the horsebit-inspired closure of the ‘Mors de Brides’ nods to the Parisian maison’s equestrian heritage.


Handbag brands Prada Cleo bag

Top, £810; trousers, £845; ‘Cleo’ bag, £1,520, all by Prada. Bracelet, £700, by Alighieri


Handbag brands Hermes Mors de Bride bag

Bodysuit, £1,950; skirt, £3,800; ‘Mors de Bride’ bag, £4,500, all by Hermès

The most striking shoulder bags feature tactile fabrications and graphic hardware details but avoid any other ostentation. They also align with our 2021 take on timeless wardrobe essentials, which propose pared-pack capsule-focused wardrobe. Parisian handbag brands Celine, Christian Dior and Saint Laurent laud the logo or monogram in metal form, while Roman label Valentino Garavani has sized up the stud details synonymous with its accessories to striking effect. Now it’s clear how to invest in a classic, and banish trend-led styles from your subconscious, we suggest you let these bags take your utility-inspired dressing to another dimension. §


Handbag brands Dior Caro bag

Jumpsuit, £1,600; bralette, £650; knickers, £670; earring, £390; ‘Caro’ bag, £3,300, all by Dior

Saint Laurent

Handbag brands Saint Laurent Le Monogramme bag

Jacket, £2,175; ‘Le Monogramme’ bag, £1,285, both by Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello


Handbag brands Celine Triomphe bag

Jacket, £1,950; roll-neck, £365; ‘Triomphe’ bag, £1,550, all by Celine by Hedi Slimane. Necklace, £1,150, by Alighieri

Valentino Garavani

Handbag brands Valentino Garavani Roman Stud bag

Jumpsuit, £1,690, by Valentino. ‘Roman Stud’ bag, £2,100, by Valentino Garavani. Earrings, £295; bracelet, £395, both by Alighieri


Handbag brands Fendi Moonlight bag

Jacket, £2,390; skirt, £920; ‘Moonlight’ bag, £1,450, all by Fendi. Earrings, £585, by Completedworks

Salvatore Ferragamo

Handbag brands Salvatore Ferragamo bag

Dress, £3,045; bag, £1,830, both by Salvatore Ferragamo. Earrings, £280, by Alighieri

Alexander McQueen

Handbag brands Alexander McQueen Curve bag

Jacket, £1,940; ‘Curve’ bag, £1,090, both by Alexander McQueen. Earrings, £350, by Alighieri